AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers: Iran move closer to finals with Lebanon win [VIDEO]

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AFC – DUSHANBE, The Islamic Republic of Iran moved a step closer to AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 with a 2-0 win over Lebanon on Thursday.

The result takes Mehdi Mahdavikia’s side to the maximum six points after two matches, meaning a win in Sunday’s Group B finale against hosts Tajikistan will guarantee their progression as group winners.

In contrast, Lebanon is now out of contention for a place in next year’s Finals after falling to defeats in both of their two matches thus far.

Keen to build on their strong finish In Monday’s 4-0 win over Nepal. Iran took just five minutes to go ahead through Mehdi Lamouchi, who latched onto skipper Yasin Salmani’s pass before beating Lebanese goalkeeper Antoine Al Douaihy from close range. 

Iran suffered a blow when Mohammad Khodabandehlo was sent off after being shown a second yellow card in the 36th minute, but Lebanon failed to capitalize on their numerical advantage.

Mahdavikia’s side missed the chance to extend their lead when Saman Fallahvarnami’s Panenka-style penalty kick was kept out by the woodwork in the 90th minute, but the second goal did arrive in the fourth minute of injury time, with Milad Kor rising high to head home the sealer. 

Team Melli Omid now face what looms as a crucial clash with Tajikistan, who will play later on Thursday, while Lebanon will be playing for pride in their final outing against Nepal.

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